Sunday, February 24, 2013

Finding Your Eye: Journey Of Fascination

The Eye Of A Photographer

What exactly is that?
The Eye of a photographer is what Kat has us looking at in our latest assignment for Finding Your Eye: Journey of Fascination. She asked us to find an object, photograph it, study it, sketch it, and then photograph it again. Sketching  helps us to look more closely at the shape, light, shadows, lines, and details.
I chose a vintage spool of thread, sat it on the table in front of me, and studied it. Then I grabbed my camera and took a few shots from different angles. I found myself focusing on the wooden spool.
Then, I sketched it. I worked on the shape of the spool and the lines of thread, then I began sketching the label. That’s when my eyes began to see more. I saw the smudges of age, the tears in the paper, the jagged hole that was punched out as the spool was put on a sewing machine spindle, the words, and the numbers. I began to see the tiny details.
I'm not going to apoligize for my sketch. It is what it is; a sketch by a person who knows very little about drawing. I've been reading a lot of discussions about apologizing for our art work. In fact I've already peeked at our next assignment with Kat and you'll be hearing more about that in a future post! Kat's assignments have not only played a big part in my growth as a photographer, they have also made me braver!!
My sketch makes me think of when I was in the seventh grade.  I was supposed to be in choir, but my schedule was messed up and I was in an art class. I remember the teacher watching me trying to draw a picture of a vase and making the comment, with a smile, that she thought I was better suited for choir than art. She was nice about it and I definitely agreeded!!  I don’t know who was more relieved when the mistake was corrected; me or the teacher! 
I'm rambling! I'd better get back to this assignment. When I took the images of the spool before I sketched it, I was focused on the spool itself. When I took the images after I sketched it, I was intriqued by something totally different...the label. I positioned the end of the spool in better light and focused on the label. The act of sketching made me see the object differently.
I have a sketch book, but I've only used three pages in it. I'm going to change that and sketch more often to train my eyes to see things more than one way.

To me a photographer’s eye is:
seeing with the eyes and heart,
looking for the best light and angle, and
capturing what I've seen in a pleasing photo.

No matter what camera you use,
it is not the camera
but your artistic eyes
who makes the photograph.
~ Taga Creekside



  1. I haven't done this exercise yet and I think your sketch is quite nice really it is. I really like the last image you took of the spool.

  2. And in those tiny details that you noticed there is a story. I wonder who bought the thread and what they made?

    Beautifully done, Cathy! Your before and after images really show that you noticed things as you did your drawing.

  3. Good for you for doing the sketch and then sharing it, without apology! I am also fascinated by old spools of thread -- i really like the POV you used in the last image.

  4. Cathy - I have really enjoyed seeing the results of this exercise from all the class participants. It is really quite fascinating how drawing the object has such an impact on the resulting image. How the act of drawing slows us down enough to really see. The difference in your two images is subtle but significant - I really like the way you composed your second shot. (And I'm glad you didn't apologize for your drawing.)

  5. Nice, what an interesting exercise, definitely worth trying, I really like the difference on your 2 photographed images.

  6. What an interesting exercise, Cathy. I love your sketch too and doing it added to what you saw in the old spool and how you photographed it.

  7. I think none of us can doubt your eye for photography, Cathy, and now you need to have the same confidence in the ability to sketch -- not only because you did well (despite memories of the past) but because it has resulted in an even better photograph!

  8. It's so much fun to read about your experience and how you began to see new details as you sketched. It's really too bad that we feel we have to be "good" at sketching or we don't do it - it shows us so much! I'm glad that you shared your sketch (which is quite good) and the before and after image. While they are similar, there is a big difference in the two. I think the second one says more, because you intentionally chose your focus so carefully and knew what you wanted to highlight. It's so great you are feeling braver in so many ways. I've seen the change!

  9. Cathy, I love that quotation at the very end of your post. May I borrow that? I love the details you noticed in this old spool of thread. I'd have seen that hole but wouldn't have thought about what it meant - being put on a sewing machine - even though (or maybe because) I've used many spools on my own sewing machine. I like that in your second composition the end of the thread is in sharp focus. It leads my eye into the frame and keeps me looking around at the details.

  10. I think the art teacher should have kept you in art class, she gave up on you way too soon. Your sketch is fantastic. I love how you noted that your focal point changed once you sketched it. Wonderful work. I have to do this assignment yet, playing a little catch up.

  11. I agree with hiss on the art teacher. As a music teacher I promised myself I would NEVER be the one to tell a child they shouldn't sing or they should mouth the words, and I kept that promise. I'd rather have a student joyfully singing their 2 or 3 notes than an attitude that sings beautifully.

    OK, enough about me. Your 2nd photo ROCKS!! Wow I love it. I love the POV you chose after drawing and when you think of a spool of thread, I think one's mind thinks "thread" and you chose to highlight something that makes the mind think thread-even though you're featuring something totally different and making the thread secondary. It's like a suggestion of what's there. Cool beans.

    I personally love an image that combines text with picture, so this really appeals to me. Nice shadows too. You definitely need to keep drawing.


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